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Thoughts On Selling the WWW.

Online Selling: 5 Part Online Advertising Needs Assessment

Posted by Dan Vigil on December 14, 2011

Selling online advertising requires more work up-front to ensure that effective solutions are built for advertisers. The client needs assessment is one of the most effective tools in a sales executives arsenal to accomplish this. Most execs are familiar with the process, and many even have a formal document or form that they can complete on a sales call.

While having this form is helpful and makes for a great accountability tool on the management side, it can be a bit too clinical on the first call. The best sales execs know that the needs assessment also provides the greatest opportunity to build rapport with a prospect. Keeping the interaction conversational builds rapport and trust rather filling out a form in front of a prospect.

By remembering this simple 5 part needs assessment, sales execs can collect information conversationally and allow questions to lead into discussions about online advertising solutions. While it’s still a good idea to take notes, a note pad or a notebook is more personal than a form which may appear more like a “system” than a conversation to prospects.

1. Ideal Customer Profile: What does the prospects ideal customer look like? Gender, age, income, location, occupation, interests. Use this query to lead into discussions about behavioral, geographic and demographic targeting solutions.

2. Buying Cycle : How long does it take for customers to make a buying decision? At what stage in the buying cycle does an advertiser want to reach a potential customer? Is the goal to build awareness, provide information, elicit a purchase decision. This query can lead to discussions about online display and search and how the two work together at different stages of the buying cycle.

3. Marketing Objectives/Differentiators: What does the advertiser want to accomplish with the campaign? Is the goal to drive web traffic, online sales, build email databases, generate leads, drive foot traffic, grow local (regional, national) share? What differentiates the prospects products and services from competitors?

4. Ad History/Product Mix: What type of media is the prospect currently using to advertise? What have they been using over the past year? Newspapers, TV/cable, radio/broadcast, yellow pages, magazines, billboards, direct mail, online? Were any of these mediums effective? What types of products did they try? Banners, video, contests, directories, coupons, SEO, SEM, email, mobile?

 5. Sales Revenue/Ad Budget: Sales execs can be sure that they’ve established rapport when they’re able to ask the client to provide information about annual sales revenue and annual ad budgets. These are usually the final questions in the process and are really the door openers to showing the client how they can increase sales or ROI with new solutions.
With a little imagination and a bi-lingual twist, AE’s can use the following phrase and acronym to remember these 5 parts: “I See More” or “I-C-Mas” (“Mas” means “More” in Spanish):
I-Ideal Customer Profile
C-Cycle (Buying Cycle)
M-Marketing Objectives/Differentiator
A-Ad History/Product Mix
S-Sales Revenue/Ad Budget
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